Tuesday’s Q&A – 3/18/14

Gluta-thione in Lafayette LA

Chiropractic Lafayette LA Woman With Hand Out

This week I actually have a question for my favorite health care providers in Lafayette LA! I wanted to know more about the amino acid, Gluta-thione . My question is, "if our body (the liver) makes it - why would we do we need to supplement our diets with it?"

One of my favorite holistic MD's Dr. Mark Hyman says, "GLUTATHIONE (pronounced "gloota-thigh-own") is the mother of all antioxidants, the master detoxifier and maestro of the immune system. It's the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease - yet you've probably never heard of it. It's the secret to prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more, and necessary to treat everything from autism to Alzheimer's disease."

In treating chronically ill patients with Functional Medicine for more than 10 years, Dr. Hyman discovered that glutathione deficiency is found in nearly all very ill patients. These include people with chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, liver disease and more. At first, he thought that this was just a coincidental finding, but over the years he's come to realize that our ability to produce and maintain a high level of glutathione is critical to recovery from nearly all chronic illness - and to preventing disease and maintaining optimal health and performance.

My favorite holistic doc, Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, says that, "Glutathione is your body's most powerful antioxidant and detoxifying agent, and it's also something of a well-kept secret. Outside the wellness community, few people have even heard of it, but it's now time to lift the curtain on this life-saving molecule that delivers incredible benefits, and even helps slow the aging process." Slows the aging process? HELL-O. I'm in - tell me more!

Though supplementation with glutathione has been around for years, few people were aware of it because, until recently, the only way to take it was through an IV. Oral forms weren't very successful because they were poorly absorbed - the stomach would diligently break down about 90% of it, preventing most of the glutathione from getting to where it needed to go. Now, however, an easily absorbed version, known as acetyl glutathione, has been developed, and at last, the benefits of glutathione can be enjoyed in supplement form (without the IV drip).

Comprised of three amino acids, glutathione is the single most powerful antioxidant your body produces and recycles. It's made in the liver, the organ most responsible for detoxifying your body, so optimal liver function is absolutely essential. If your liver isn't functioning well glutathione production suffers, toxins overwhelm it and short and long term illness are not far behind.

However, if you keep your glutathione levels high, You:

  • Protect your DNA from damage and maintain optimal immune function
  • Protect yourself against free radicals, manage inflammation and helps fend off heart disease, cancer, neurological decline, dementia and many more of the debilitating diseases we fear most
  • Neutralize and clear heavy metals and toxins from the body
  • Deliver powerful anti-aging benefits. In fact, low glutathione levels have been linked to every major aging process in the human body, so by fighting back with glutathione, you can help keep your energy levels higher, for longer.
    In short, glutathione allows your body to detoxify itself and in so doing, helps keep you healthy for the long haul. It's the ultimate health-supportive champ - and it's the one you want in your corner.

The not-so-great news is that the odds of having optimal glutathione levels much past the age of 20 are pretty slim. With aging, your body is fighting a bit of a losing battle, with natural production dropping by roughly 10% per decade. Do the math. By the time you hit 60, you're working with a bit over half the amount you made during your college years. For many people, that translates to flagging energy, lowered immunity and a host of low-grade illnesses. And while aging is inevitable, feeling lousy while doing it is not. By boosting one's glutathione levels, many people can slow the losses of the aging process and possibly stop some major health problems from setting up camp in your body.

In addition to aging, there are other forces taking a bite out of your glutathione production. You'll want to pay attention to the classic health-suckers: stress, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and some prescription meds to name a few. Another major depleter: toxic overload, or heavy long term exposure to toxins and pollution, which not only contributes to glutathione depletion but also inhibits the liver's ability to produce it.

Whew! That's a lot of information! But EXTREMEMLY informative… To optimize my own glutathione supply, I am taking a multi-step approach (and you can too!) I'm starting with a nutrient-dense diet, meditation for stress-reduction, consistent exercise and smart supplementation. Here's why:

  • Choose foods that support and stimulate gluta-thione production: garlic and onions, asparagus, avocados, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, parsley and watercress. Cinnamon and cardamom also offer benefits.
  • Exercise triggers glutathione production, so finding a routine that works for you is the way to go. If you're just getting into a workout groove, start slow and build up over time. An overly aggressive exercise program right out of the gate can do more harm than good and facilitate the production of free-radicals (gross! They're health harmful!) So, best not to over-do it!
  • Unmanaged, chronic stress depletes glutathione, so commit to getting it under control! Take stress down a few notches with calming practices like meditation, mindfulness exercises or restorative yoga.


Take steps to minimize your exposure to toxins. By doing so you'll lighten your toxic load and reduce the strain on your glutathione stores. The easiest ways to cut down exposure: filtering your water, using organic or homemade, natural cleaning products, reducing the use of personal care products (WARNING: most deodorants contain aluminum nowadays - BUYER BEWARE) and switching to glass for food storage and reheating (part with your plastic storage containers and invest in a glass set - so much healthier AND easier to clean!)

Supplement your diet: To achieve the most optimal level possible, you can purchase a gluta-thione supplement, just make sure you're getting acetyl glutathione to ensure bioavailability - and reap maximum benefit. Can't find AC-Glutathione in the store? Pick up some Alpha-Lipoeic Acid. This amino acid is a close "sister."

By Francesca Marino D.C.


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Modern Chiropractic

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Lafayette, LA 70506

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